Message from the Chair


Scottie Gissel

Assistant Directors work the line where business meets art in the collaborative, yet hierarchal, sphere of motion picture and television production. In teamwork with the Director and Producer, the Assistant Director must facilitate production with all departments and prioritize with the ultimate result in mind: to finish the job – having done the work in the time allotted – safely & without incident - beautifully! Not for the faint of heart despite the fun to be had, and every AD has both tales of adventure and stripes earned in the production trenches. 


The Assistant Director Training Program is unique in that it seeks to provide education and opportunity for those who aspire to the job of DGA member Assistant Directors. Acceptance into the program provides paid "on the job training" as well as mentorship throughout training. By nurturing our future Directors' Guild members, in turn, we nurture the motion picture and television production industry itself.


I was accepted into the Training Program almost 30 years ago and can attest that it gave me the building blocks of my professional network as well as working experience and knowledge of how to navigate this industry. Some of my closest friends to this day are fellow trainees I met at the beginning of this adventurous journey.  I was incredibly honored to be appointed to the Board of Trustees of this Program in 2003 and in the interim to have served previously as Board Chair (2010) and Chair of Screening and Admissions (2008 – 2014). This Program certainly set the platform that launched my career and I consider it a privilege to serve as this year’s Board Chair.